5 Keys to Jumping Past Job Interview Jitters

During this challenging economy, the pressure on college students and recent graduates to ace the elusive job or internship interview can be exhausting, even traumatic.

The key to doing well? Coming in confident and prepared! Yet many of us wait until we get a phone call to come in for an interview before we start to prepare for success.

Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way for being mentally prepared for a job interview – well before you need to be…

1. You’re There for a Reason

Before you begin to prepare for the interview, recognize that your experience set, education, polished resume and cover letter helped you get past the first stage of securing your dream job.

Remind yourself that your skill set, your accomplishments, and the situations you’ve overcome make you a top candidate in the eyes of this recruiter. On paper… you are already a fit.

You got this interview for a reason– probably several reasons. Realizing you deserve to be there can take away a lot of those jitters!

2. Dump Your Preconceived Notions

Rather than imagining the interview as an interrogation where you are put on the spot and ruthlessly quizzed for a half hour, think of the interview as a mutual meeting:

  • Your purpose for the meeting: you want to get to know the company and make sure its goals are in line with yours
  • Their purpose for the meeting: they want to get to know you and determine whether you are a good fit – for the position and the company

So share your stories but also pose questions. Make the interview less about you – and more about finding the right fit for both you and the company!

3. People Hire People They Like

We all know the stock advice: smile, make eye contact, present a firm handshake, etc. And it’s all true. To get past the first impression, however, and all the way to “liked”… try this:

From the moment you shake hands: encourage human conversation. Don’t walk silently, which shows how nervous you are. Instead, lighten the mood by creating small talk: comment on the office space, weather, or any interesting decorations.

This light conversation will help you relax, and help the interviewer see that you are personable, prepared – and well past the “nervous” stage.

4. Prepare for THIS Interview

With all the resources available to us, there is no reason you should be blind-sided by questions like: “tell me about your weaknesses.” If you prepare, each question posed to you should be easy to answer with confidence. Sure, they may throw in one or two curve balls – but if you know yourself and your abilities well enough, you can answer anything!

The key here is to prepare by researching the specifics of this opportunity – and this company.

This preparation will enable you to better understand the company’s goals and culture – and help you relax and more easily pose questions to the interviewer… with poise.

5. “Practice Makes Perfect”

The more you interview… the less stressful these face-to-face meetings will become. Utilize mock interviews for practice. If there is a question that stumps you during an interview, learn from that question and answer “perfectly” the next time. Also, don’t assume you blew the whole interview just because you struggled to answer one question. You can always make a reference in your thank you letter to the answer you should have said during the interview. (P.S. remember to write a thank you letter!)

Remember… you and the interviewer are just two people meeting for the first time, getting to know one another. Even though there is a little more at stake, this is just a conversation!

By being prepared and aware of the questions you may be asked you will feel relaxed and confident – enabling you to jump far enough past the jitters to ace the interview!


About the Author: Kellyn Legath graduated in 2011 with a B.A in Professional with Culture and Media Studies from Kutztown University. Aside from being a passionate writer and a movie buff, she is a social media and fashion addict. Currently she interns for two companies, as well as YouTern, and had a previous internship at a local magazine near her hometown in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Connect with Kellyn via LinkedIn, or view her professional portfolio at kellynlegath.wordpress.com.



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